Flash Review: Sensory Couple [The Girl Who Sees Smells]

Let’s just say that if you’re looking for a crime procedural, or a thriller-mystery, or well, any kind of logical narrative, really, then this show probably isn’t for you.

I think it’s safe to say that if you were to approach this show with a lens that is at all serious, then it’s highly likely that disappointment would be in your future.

If you’re on the market for lots of OTP Cute, though, never mind the (sometimes gaping) flaws in the areas I just mentioned, then the show affectionately known as Smelly Girl just might work for you.

STAHP. Please? >.<


For the record, here are the top few things that didn’t work for me in this show.

1. The gag comedy

Because lead character Cho Rim (Shin Se Kyung) is passionate about gag comedy and desires to make it a career, we get multiple scenes featuring a full range of gag comedy, from cringe-it’s-bad-like-really-really-bad, to I’m-still-cringing-but-I-guess-it’s-good.

I’ve never been able to appreciate gag comedy, and I suspect I never will. So even when Park Yoo Chun busted out his gag comedy chops and everyone onscreen (and offscreen, too) praised him for how good he was, I cringed anyway, and averted my eyes.

It’s just not my kind of thing, I guess.

2. The ineptitude of the police

To put it plainly, the police in this show are consistently, persistently inept to the point of stupidity.

For a show that’s all about a team of cops working to solve a series of murders, this had a big impact on the show. It took me awhile to (sort of) find a lens that ultimately worked (more about that in a bit), but there were So. SO. Many. Times. that I rolled my eyes (and shook my head. And wanted to hit somebody) because of the inability of our team of detectives to think and act with at least moderate amounts of intelligence and professionalism.

Basically, we get cartoony policing all the way, with bumbling homicide detectives who jump to conclusions all the time, and also wimp out all the time, and have no professional code of ethics whatsoever.

3. Logic generally isn’t strong

There is a general lack of logic in the show, which resulted in an oddly surreal flavor overall. I sometimes felt like I was watching a dream sequence coz the logic flow was so weird, and I kept feeling like someone ought to be waking me up anytime, since it all felt so surreal.


Like the scene in episode 5, when Moo Gak (Park Yoo Chun) rushes in on Dr. Chun (Song Jong Ho) to accuse him of killing his sister, just like that.

Shout-out, too, to that entire chase sequence involving Cho Rim and the murderer in the same episode. From the murderer pulling a knife on Cho Rim in broad daylight, to Moo Gak knowing exactly where to find her even though her text gave no location, AND she was still on the run.

Or how about the time in episode 11, when Cho Rim wants to regain her memories to catch the murderer, and asks Lieutenant Yeom (Yoon Jin Seo) to keep everything from Moo Gak, WHILE requesting that Lt. Yeom take him back on the team. Uh. This makes no sense at all. Like, how does Cho Rim expect Moo Gak to be kept in the dark about her involvement while he’s being brought back on the case, when she herself is the central witness to the case??

And how about that time in the same episode, when Cho Rim gets the text from her dad (Jung In Ki) to go pick him up, which gives his location as Jae Hee’s (Nam Goong Min) address? Surely Cho Rim would recognize the address, having been to the house multiple times before? And failing that, when she arrives at the house, surely she would know it’s Jae Hee’s house, and then SURELY she would wonder what on earth Dad is doing there? Especially since Lieutenant Yeom has by this point told her how she’s suspicious of Jae Hee?

Seriously. There were actual times when I felt convinced that the writers had gotten very, very drunk, and had carried on writing anyway.



For a long stretch while watching the show, I struggled to find a viewing lens that worked.

Show actually started off pretty decently in how it managed to give us movement on the Barcode Murder cases and allowing the characters and their relationships room for development, all while keeping the show light. That’s no small deal. And, in spite of the murder context, the sweet moments between Moo Gak and Cho Rim didn’t feel out of place, which is more than I can say for other shows trying to mix murder with romance (My Secret Hotel, for example).

By episode 10, though, I’d lost all interest in the serial murderer arc, thanks to the illogical and haphazard writing.

In the last stretch of the drama, though, I had a Realization. And that is, that this show isn’t made for crime-solving, it’s made for drama. And drama that’s as high as they can take it, too.

By the final episodes, whenever the scene had anything to do with the murderer, Show literally felt like classic high melodrama, with all of its characters’ exaggerated reaction shots and the pulsing orchestra music in the background (example above). It felt like unadulterated classic soap, at those times.

When it wasn’t being a classic soap (ie when the focus wasn’t on murder but on romance), though, Show went really heavy-handed with the sugary sweet couple moments.

With all of these disparate pieces at play, the tone of the show swung wildly between a sort-of crime story, to high-drama soap, to cutesy rom-com.

My Realization about Show’s tone didn’t make it any less uneven or any less weird, but I felt like I at least had a couple of ready lenses ready for whatever Show decided to serve up. Plus, with the expectation of high-drama soap, I no longer had any expectations around intelligent policing. Which helped. Sorta.


In a nutshell, the main draw in this show is the fact that Yoo Chun and Shin Se Kyung are really cute together.

They share a chemistry that’s warm and layered with spark, and despite some smatterings of stiffness, their interactions generally feel natural and organic, which makes the romantic scenes quite melty. As a bonus, both of them have excellent comic timing, which makes for good shared comic scenes too.

Show understands that OTP Cute really is its main draw, and consistently serves up good solid stretches of Moo Gak and Cho Rim being sweet and quite adorable together. Yes, sometimes the cute is heavy-handed and sometimes that did make me cringe, but overall, I found Moo Gak’s and Cho Rim’s interactions quite enjoyable.

In particular, I liked how naturally handsy they seemed with each other, and I especially loved Moo Gak’s tender tone of voice during some of their cozier moments. So melty.

Here’s a small screenshot spasm of ’em, since they really are the main reason I finished the show:


To be honest, Nam Goong Min is not one of my favorite actors. I mean, he always seems to be playing minor variations of himself. He never feels like an actual character, in that sense. He always looks the same and dresses about the same, and speaks the same, and basically is the same.

On a tangent, I was quite amused at how Nam Goong Min seems to keep showing up in murder-mixed-with-romance shows, and in second lead position too (he was also second lead in My Secret Hotel).

More to the point, though, Nam Goong Min unveiled some seriously ripped muscles in his shirtless scenes in this show, and I couldn’t help but give ’em a decent shout-out, at least.

Pretty impressive, eh?

Now if only he’d actually have an acting breakthrough, to go with. 😛


In its final stretches, this show made me zone out, but I enjoyed it just enough to want to finish it.

Yes, the final episode felt more like an exercise of going through the motions, not only for the murderer arc – where we get resolution but no real answers – but also for our OTP, where the cute is served up to establish the fact that they never will get to go on a real honeymoon, not when they’re both needed in that highly unprofessional detective world where random people can join the homicide team in interrogating suspects and solving cases.

In the end, to get myself to the finish line, I simply stopped questioning everything, and just resigned myself to the fact that these things really don’t matter in this world. In this world, OTP Cute is what really counts.


Mildly cute, though highly illogical.




Since the OTP Cute is basically the main draw of the show, here’re a couple of light couple-centric vids for ya:

42 thoughts on “Flash Review: Sensory Couple [The Girl Who Sees Smells]

  1. A Reviewer

    “Mildly cute, though highly illogical.” – you are being way too generous. I watched this after Run On and Bride of H. I really liked Ms. Shin in both the shows, but with the writing as it is in this drama, there was nothing she could do to salvage it. I am not the kind that screams at the TV but watching this drama it was very difficult not to yell out “are you stupid?”.

  2. Rocky

    This drama is fun (with all great actors)but not logic at all.. the writer must be 5 years old.. I hv to end it at episode 15 only. Suspend my logic is not an option and those amount of stupidity shown by this drama’s writer is killing me. hehe.. (tq for Admin for honest review & sorry for my poor English)


    1. kfangurl Post author

      Yeah, this one was not at all strong on the logic. If it wasn’t working for you, then dropping it even at episode 15, sounds like the right decision for you! 😉

    2. beez

      I love this show. I have to day that I think it’s a tad unfair to expect logic from a show that’s entitled “The Girl Who Sees Smells”. 😆

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  5. Diane J

    You are spot on with this review. Those comedy routines were truly awful, and your description of them made me laugh. There seemed to have no reason to include those scenes in this drama. It was really weird. And those bumbling police officers couldn’t find a way out of a paper bag. You really have to suspend your logic and go with the flow. The romance was cute, could have used more intensity.

    1. kfangurl

      Hi there Diane! Thanks for enjoying this review! <3 And yes, those comedy routine were just really bad! 😝😝😅 And I'm truly so over bumbling cops in kdramas.. it's such a cliche, and so unfair to all the non-bumbling police officers in Korea! 😆 I finished this one purely for the romance, though you're absolutely right that it could've used more intensity and feels. Twas harmless and cute, for what it was 😉

  6. beez

    This show is my junk! Usually I find myself agreeing with you, Kfangurl, but not this time. The title told me what to expect and logic or competent police wasn’t it. lol

    My only fault with this show is, as Yoochun’s character began to fall for Shi kyung’s, it seemed like his issue with being unable to feel pain and his narcolepsy problems seemed to be going away but it wasn’t addressed. But since it wasn’t mentioned by anyone nor really highlighted past the dishwashing scene, I don’t know if we’re supposed to have realized he was fully cured or if it’s one of those typical kdrama things where the writers forgot about it (or hoped we did) and it vanished as if it never was a thing.
    Still my junk though. 🙂

    1. kfangurl

      Lol. I was definitely in the minority with Sensory Couple, so I’m not surprised that you loved it, beez! 😆 I think one of the big disconnects for me, is that I often don’t enjoy kdrama humor. The campy, OTT exaggerated comedic style is not my thing, and if a show sits in that category, I need to like the show in spite of its sense of humor, rather than because of it. This show’s sense of humor wasn’t my thing, but I found the OTP cute enough to stay through to the end. Still, my enjoyment of the show was very moderate compared to most folks.

      As for the narcolepsy problem going away, my guess is that it was either the writers hoping that the audience forgot about it, or the writers forgetting about it themselves. Like in Rich Man Poor Woman (the J-version), where the show conveniently forgot that the main character ever suffered from prosopagnosia. 🙄

  7. Tommy Chen

    I just finished watching this and I fairly enjoyed it but as you said, the OTP was the main reason why. Through the whole drama I was thinking these cops really don’t have common sense. Despite these illogical parts , I still think it was like a B at least.

    1. kfangurl

      Heh. You are more gracious than I am, Tommy! 😋 Yes, the OTP was the main positive in this drama. And those drama cops were terrible, as you said.

  8. Toove

    Thanks for the review. So hard for me to swallow the illogicalities, just why? I can´t understand how they could make it so incredibly illogical.
    One thing I really hated in the show was a middle aged single man adopts a teenage daughter? Really? That is just creepy.

      1. kfangurl

        Lol. This show really was very illogical, so I can understand your bemusement! It’s hard to say why dramas get so illogical sometimes, but I’ve learned that selectively closing my eyes to the lack of logic can sometimes really amp up my viewing experience. This show is one of those that I managed to enjoy quite well in spite of its logic holes, thanks to that neat trick of switching off the ol’ brain. 😆

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  10. Nancy Chua

    done with this one 🙂 it’s just so so for me , watched this for YooChun , love him but this drama did not make my heart flutter.

    1. kfangurl

      Yes, that’s about my reaction in a nutshell, really. I like Yoo Chun quite a lot, as an actor. But this show wasn’t one of his best that I’ve seen. I much preferred him in SKKS and Rooftop Prince. I remember enjoying him very much in both shows 🙂

  11. DBChen

    Re: Namgoong Min — he showed a lot of range in Unemployed Romance, playing a character across a 10 year span, starting from a dorky college student in love for the first time to frustrated unemployed adult.

    I’ve only seen him in My Secret Hotel and Sensory Couple, otherwise. I had high hopes for both shows, as I like their genres, but in both the writing failed.

    1. kfangurl

      Oh, it’s good to hear that NGM showed range in Unemployed Romance. I don’t like him enough as an actor for me to now want to check out Unemployed Romance, but it’s just nice to know that he DOES have range ^^ Agree with you that the writing was quite terrible in both My Secret Hotel and Sensory Couple. I couldn’t finish My Secret Hotel, it was so bad XD

  12. INTJ

    a frustrating experience, saved only by the (interesting) idea of being able to see smells … and proving that to the police. 😀

    1. kfangurl

      Lol! I can see why you’d find it a frustrating watch, INTJ! I’m actually surprised that you stuck with it through to the very end! 😉

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  14. Jaime the Drama Noona

    This drama was high on the list of shows to watch with the hubby, but he is pretty much incapable of adjusting his viewing lense. Seeing as it has such large plot and logic holes I think I’ll watch this one on my own. Thanks again for another fantastic review!

    1. kfangurl

      Lol. I don’t think this is the kind of show that would appeal to most guys, tbh. If you’re planning to watch this at all, going it alone sounds like the better plan! At the same time, there are so many other better shows out there, that if you’re short on drama-watching hours, you might be better off spending those hours elsewhere, y’know? Just sayin’ 😉

  15. aigooyobo

    You read my mind. A+ for your review. I am not going to repeat myself cuz u said it all. I was.literally about to drop.this series in ep 10..but when i realized that i had to zone out on the incompetency of the cops and the fact that the writing is highly flawed and focused only on the OTP i began to enjoy the show. I told myself not to analyze the flaws of the show and just go along with the ridiculousness, that was when the show became fun. Isn’t it awesome when you remove yourself from a situation and go along with it? Yes i am superficial in the sense that the main actors had a natural flow of chemistry and thats y i stuck.to it. I do believe Nam had a chemistry with Dec. Yeom(forget her name)…..and also one of the best villians to bw written in a while in kdramaland. Would have loved it if the writers went deep with him as compared to give us an answer from the surface. In all, i enjoyed the drama based on the otp and not overanalyze the stupidity. Hehe. Thanks for this review. I needed someone to write something on this because i was going to write an 5 book chapter on this review later this year. Hehehehehe.

    1. kfangurl

      Lol, thanks! I’m really glad that you enjoyed the review, aigooyobo!! It really is great when you find a way to enjoy a show that is otherwise flawed. I don’t always find a way, to be sure, but that flexi-lens approach has helped me enjoy a show on many occasions, for which I’m grateful 🙂

      Yes, I do wish the show had bothered to give us more insight into our serial killer’s mind. All we got were hypotheses and theories, but we never got a proper answer as to why he killed and how he chose his victims. After spending so many episodes trying to nail him for his crimes, I thought at least an attempt at explaining all of that would have been in order. Too bad the writers didn’t think it was important. I think that’s one of my big peeves with the show. Like, after I put up with all your loopholes and logic fails, you can’t even give me a “why” for all this serial killer stuff that we’ve been pursuing all drama long? Tsk. Honestly. XD

    1. kfangurl

      Oh yes, the OTP cute was pretty much the ONLY reason I even finished this show! XD If Show hadn’t gotten so extremely illogical at the end, I might’ve even given it a better rating, just based on the cute. It’s just that it got so dumb that whatever cute Show served up then just didn’t go down as well anymore. Yay that you managed to enjoy it quite well, tho, misscupcakees! 😀

  16. Timescout

    Well, all the silly in the drama was the main reason I dropped this early on. I don’t mind a minor logic fail here and there or even some pretty big plot holes but when the whole thing just makes me loose all paitence with the writing, it’s time to say ‘adios’. Then there was the whole Super Villain cum Nam Goong Min thingy… XD What you wrote about NGM – SO spot on! Plus, he always comes off smarmy. I’ve yet to like his take on any characters I’ve seen him play and frankly don’t understand why people like him as an actor.

    Cute doesn’t count when nothing else works, sorry.

    1. kfangurl

      Hahaha! I just can’t see you finishing this drama either, Timescout! XD This is so NOT your kind of show! There was so little logic in this that it eventually got really hard for me to swallow. This, even though I’d already resigned myself to very little sense-making in this show. I totally understand why you dropped this one, lol.

      As for NGM, he DOES come off smarmy! What bemuses me is how he’s always the same. In every drama, and even on WGM, he’s always THE SAME. I don’t think he’s much of an actor, but I acknowledge that he does have his fans. I’m now curious to see how he’ll do now that he’s decided to try his hand at directing. Will he discover that he’s great at directing, I wonder? XD

      1. beez

        I totally agree about Namgong min but I’m curious as to what you think of him now that it’s 2018 and he’s had quite a variety of characters in the last couple of years. (I’ll go check out your list to see if you’ve reviewed any of his thoroughly animated characters since like – Hong shin; Remember; and the wacky Chief Kim)

          1. kfangurl

            In terms of how I feel about NGM now.. I’m again in the minority. When everyone was raving about his outing in Beautiful Gong Shim, I tuned in to see what the fuss was about. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as taken by his delivery as everyone else was. I think wacky-manic male leads generally don’t appeal to me. Kinda like how man-children male leads don’t really appeal to me either. This means, unfortunately, that I’m still in pretty indifferent territory, with NGM. I don’t hate him, but I wouldn’t check out a show just because he’s in it, either. I do concede that he’s done an excellent job with the bodybuilding, lol. 😉😁

  17. snow

    ‘Mildly Cute’!!!!!!!!!!! *strongly disagrees*
    This drama is one of the cutest! Yoochun and Shin Se Kyung are one of the cutest couples of dramaland…

    I agree with all loopholes and incompetent detectives….I kept on complaining about it throughout the run of the show…but the good points made up for that…aside from the OTP, I think the show served its thrilling moments quite well..plus, the relationship between the police team was another favorite thing of mine…especially when they didn’t start off well…

    I would give this drama a B+ or A 🙂

    1. kfangurl

      Tee hee! You’re so cute when you’re riled up, snow! XD

      It’s great that you loved Sensory Couple as much as you did, I know lots of folks did too! I actually really enjoyed the cute in the earlier to mid episodes, and would’ve quite possibly given the show a B or B+ rating based on how fun the cute was. But the end stretch of the show bored me immensely, and all the silly loopholes and logic fails became too much for me, so much so that they eventually outweighed the cute by a lot. Which is how I ended up feeling like the cute was only mild. At least now you know that I agreed with your rating at one point? XD

        1. kfangurl

          Lol. I’m not making this up, I swears! XD I really did like it a lot better before I hit the final stretch. That’s when it all went downhill for me 😛


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